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Africa News of Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Source: reuters.com

Niger foils 'coup attempt' with days to historic power transfer

File photo of the frontal view of the Presidential Palace File photo of the frontal view of the Presidential Palace

Heavy gunfire was heard near Niger’s presidency in the early hours of Wednesday, two days ahead of the swearing-in of president-elect Mohamed Bazoum, a Reuters reporter said.

Heavy gunfire started around around 3 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) and lasted for around 30 minutes.

The government of Niger has yet to officially comment but anonymous sources have disclosed that the presidential guard had foiled a coup attempt with a number of soldiers currently under arrest.

"There were some arrests among a few members of the army who are behind this attempted coup. The presidential Guard retaliated, preventing this group of soldiers from approaching the presidential palace," the AFP quoted the source as saying.

There have been growing attacks by Islamist militants, and political tensions in the country following the Bazoum’s victory in a February presidential election runoff.

Former president Mahamane Ousmane, who lost in the runoff, has rejected the results and said there was fraud.

Inauguration of the new president is expected in the coming days as the country experiences its first peaceful transfer of political power.

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